Ahead of the Us Grand Prix McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown shared his thoughts on the potential value of the F1’s industry and its teams in the upcoming future.
“I think Formula 1 teams can definitely be worth billions. There's a lot of school and franchise: NFL, NHL, Premier League, NBA et cetera that are worth billions. I think now that Liberty has come in and made the school financially viable, financially sustainable, we’ve seen rapid growth,” he said in a session with written media including MotorLat.
“Prior to the budget cap coming into place, I don't think you could have said that because it was a sport where you had to spend as much as the biggest spenders in the sport, so the franchise was more about who can afford to lose the most. And that's not a very attractive franchise model for a lot of people,” he continued.
“I can't recall a time that there weren't always one or two teams, three teams in financial trauma and every team now, all 10 teams, are extremely healthy organizations owned by people that have the ability to see through their formula one teams. And I think that's a great place for this sport to be.”
Brown believes that Liberty Media’s takeover has “really untapped the potential value of the sport,” by making it more sustainable and consequently more appealing for new investors. A key role in this process was played by Chase Carey, the first CEO of Liberty-owned Formula 1, who introduced the cost cap and reached a compromise with the teams for a more nonpartisan Concorde Agreement.
“I think Chase [Carey, former F1 group CEO] did a great job and did exactly what Liberty wanted, which was take the sport and get it set up for the future. He did that. I think he did that extremely well, he's now handed it off to Stefano [Domenicali, current F1 CEO]. And now the sport got a tremendous amount of momentum.”
In the last few years Formula 1 has also been trying to expand in the US market. Some steps forward towards this direction have been taken with the introduction in the 2022 calendar of a new Grand Prix that will take place in Miami, a marketing campaign and Netflix’s “Drive to survive”, which raised some debates but attracted new viewers – especially Americans – nonetheless.
“I think we need to do more of what we are doing now, which is focusing on an annual marketing campaign, but you're starting to see this happen,” observed Brown.
“I think Miami will be another turbine charge for the sport. Mexico, Montreal, you got neighbouring events and a TV contract that I believe is up for renewal in the not too distant future and that anticipates the growth of Formula 1.”